Hybrid learning session on climate change and public health co-organized by CODE-NGO and the St. Luke’s Planetary and Global Health Program, virtually featuring Dr. Renzo Guinto (center) and facilitated by Dr. Jake Cortez and Dr. Pauline Tiangco (right)
The Planetary and Global Health Program (PGHP) of the St. Luke’s Medical Center College of Medicine-William H. Quasha Memorial (SLMCCM-WHQM) took center stage during the culminating event of the Social Development Week 2023, hosted by the Caucus of Development NGO Networks (CODE-NGO) on October 18, 2023 at the Oracle Hotel and Residences in Quezon City.
CODE-NGO, serving as the Philippines’ largest coalition of NGOs dedicated to social development, represents over 1,500 people’s organizations and cooperatives across the nation. This year’s theme, “Facing the Impact of Climate Change on Sustainable Development,” drew together thought leaders and scientific experts from diverse backgrounds to engage in critical conversations regarding the multifaceted impact of climate change on society. This gathering comprised representatives from various fields, including environmental science, urban development, and public health, as well as farmers, fisherfolks, and indigenous peoples who shared their authentic experiences on the life-altering effects of climate change.
The St. Luke’s PGHP co-organized an interactive hybrid learning session entitled “Our Planet, Our Health: The Links Between Climate Change and Public Health.” Dr. Renzo Guinto, PGHP’s director, led the session remotely all the way from Europe, while PGHP research fellows Dr. Jake Cortez and Dr. Pauline Tiangco facilitated the session onsite.
Dr. Guinto commenced the session with a comprehensive examination of the imminent and devastating impacts of the climate crisis on public health. He underscored that climate change is a public health emergency, posing a significant threat to the well-being of all people, especially the marginalized. “Climate change affects everyone, not only on a social level but also on a personal level,” he warned.
CODE-NGO participants advocated for Indigenous communities during the interactive session co-facilitated by Dr. Jake Cortez and Dr. Pauline Tiangco
Subsequently, participating roomers (onsite) and Zoomers (online) contributed valuable insights on a word cloud generator. They stressed the urgent necessity for cross-sectoral and synergistic action to confront the impacts of climate change on public health. Participants also raised the importance of prioritizing the health of Indigenous communities, women, and children; addressing the social and environmental determinants of health such as water safety, food security, and air quality; and giving extra attention to mental health. The discussions reflect a comprehensive and holistic understanding of health as well as unwavering commitment to health equity and social justice.
Dr. Cortez concluded the session with a resounding message, declaring, “Our health is inextricably linked with the health of the planet. We only have one planet. We need to work together to save it.” The St. Luke’s PGHP hopes that this collaboration with the development sector is just the beginning of more cross-sectoral actions in order to combat climate change and its detrimental effects on people’s health.
Word clouds generated by participants from the development sector during the interactive session on climate change and public health